Trinidad and Tobago
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Activist seeks urgent appeal in local government election challenge

Jada Loutoo Social activist Ravi Balgobin Maharaj -
Social activist Ravi Balgobin Maharaj -

POLITICAL activist Ravi Balgobin-Maharaj has already appealed Wednesday’s refusal by a High Court judge to grant him an injunction to prevent local government councillors and aldermen from continuing in office for another year.

On Wednesday, hours after Justice Jacqueline Wilson refused to grant the injunction as part of Balgobin-Maharaj's challenge to the Local Government Reform Act, which contains amendments to the Municipal Corporations Act, his attorneys, led by Anand Ramlogan, SC, filed a notice of appeal.

The attorneys are seeking an urgent hearing of the appeal.

Passed by a simple majority earlier this year, the act allows local government elections to be delayed by a year, which the government has said it wants to do.

Wilson said it was the court’s view that the least irreparable harm would be to refuse the injunction, because of the range of services provided by aldermen and councillors and the potential impact of their disruption if she granted it.

She said local government corporations played an important role in providing services to the public, and it did not follow that there would be adverse consequences if they were allowed to continue in office beyond the three months after their term ends.

Balgobin-Maharaj had asked the court to restrain all councillors and aldermen elected in the December 2, 2019, local government elections from acting beyond December 3, 2022.

Alternatively, he wanted the offices of all councillors and aldermen declared vacant from December 4.

He will now have to convince the Court of Appeal of his arguments in favour of an injunction being granted.

In a statement, Balgobin-Maharaj said he could not pretend Wednesday’s decision was not disappointing, but it was not unforeseeable.